Margaret Dorrance Remembered

Margaret Alice Dorrance (Green)

1930 – 2018

Margaret was born in Selma, California in 1930 and passed away on October 16, 2018 in Monterey County, California.  Growing up on a farm, she showed no interest in dolls, but had a keen interest in horses and cattle.  In the mid-1960s, she began working at the Hidden Hills Stables on the Laureles Grade, where she gave riding lessons and worked with horses.  During her time in the area, she met Tom Dorrance and the two were married in 1966.  Over the next 30 years, Tom and Margaret worked on ranches in Monterey, San Benito, Stanislaus and Merced counties, before finally settling in Monterey County in 1995.  Margaret showed reining and cutting horses for much of her life and remained interested in them until her death.  One of her many notable achievements was winning the Ladies Stock Horse class at the Salinas Rodeo in 1957.

She was preceded in death by her husband Tom Dorrance, parents Robert and Anna (Long) Green, and her sister Evelyn Harrison.

She is survived by her brother Roy Green of Selma, numerous nieces and nephews, and a large group of close friends that liked to talk horses with her regularly.  She will be missed by many.

Margaret Alice Dorrance 1930 – 2018

Margaret in and article from the 1960s.

Margaret 1946

Margaret 1997 by Heather Hafleigh

Margaret and Dunny

Margaret circa 1946 fancy chinks

Margaret Cutting

Margaret Cutting

Margaret Cutting 1987

Margaret Cutting 1987

Margaret Cutting 1987

Margaret Flagging

Margaret Jumping

Margaret smiling

Tom & Margaret by Heather Hafleigh

Margaret and Tom


Tom liking his straight legs

Wedding day

Book Signing

Later years

Tom horseback late 1960's

Hidden Hills Stables 1967

Please email me your favorite remembrance of her along with any photos you would like to share. 

There are no words,
no way
to convey
60 plus years of sharing.

I can’t say I remember all,
every visit, every phone call.
One thing I can honestly say.
Time did not have a role to play.
Time nor distance were no more
no taking turns, no keeping score.

A country connection has special powers.
It’s a lot like a desert flower.
It doesn’t need constant care,
It’s whatever, however, whenever
You need, I’ll be there.

The years have brought
Treasures and trials
Mountain tops and valleys low.

The country connection held
It remained—
my heart. I Know You Know.

-Milly Hunt Porter


I had the good fortune of being invited to a couple of Margaret’s “Pony Parties”.  
It seemed to me that she had a wonderful understanding of what Tom was teaching and she could verbalize it in a way that made it easier for me to understand. I remember her telling us to just “bother” the horse a little”… with a foot, or heel, or whatever where ever something was needed…it was her way of saying make the wrong thing difficult… it was gentle, and took away the idea of “wrong” and added a soft sense of humor which is always good for communication.
She was working with us to help the horses understand following a calf. I thought I understood what she was saying pretty well, but my big warmblood mare truly got it… and when it was our turn to practice a little, the calf turned, the mare turned, but I was a couple of beats slow and very nearly got left behind. It was at that moment I realized the wisdom of a western rather than a dressage saddle for ranch work! I remember a lot of laughter. 
I also remember sharing with her about a concern I was having with another rider who was richer and had more fancy stuff and experience than I had. Margaret thought for a moment and then explained it to me and added that I was more “successful” than the other rider… I’d never really thought of myself as particularly successful in anything, but I’ve never forgotten that, it was like getting a gentle lift up.
The times I talked with Margaret I felt her compassion, wisdom and humor, I was sorry to hear she has passed on, but am sure she’s doing fine. 
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